Suspect snatches purse from startled woman distracted by iguana under car

Hiraldo Valle Jr. accused of leading police on chase days after theft

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor

Hiraldo Valle Jr., 50, is accused of leading police on a chase days after snatching the purse of a woman who was startled by an iguana under her car.

MIAMI - A man accused of snatching a woman's purse in Miami used an unusual distraction to help him get away with it -- an iguana.

According to a police report, a woman was in the parking lot of a Navarro Discount Pharmacy on Northwest Seventh Street last weekend when she was startled by an iguana that scurried under her car.

While the woman was "focused on the iguana" and trying to see where the large lizard went, a man approached her and snatched her purse from her arm, the report said.

The man, later identified by police as Hiraldo Valle Jr., got into a black Volkswagen and drove away.

Three days later, an officer spotted the car and attempted to pull the driver over, but he refused to stop and led police on a chase that ended in a crash. Valle, 50, was behind the wheel, the report said.

Police said they identified Valle as the man who stole the woman's purse from surveillance video of the crime. He faces a charge of robbery by sudden snatching.

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